The Eastern Edge of Corbin Town: Hillsborough at its Birth
It was a rude village at the western-most reach of the west fork of the Neuse River. Why this site was selected remains a mystery as it was a terrible town site. Colonial government was in the process of shifting from the Cape Fear drainage to the Neuse drainage, and that may have been the reason for locating the new county seat on the Neuse. Or, as noted, the new court town was in the center of a region dominated by Quakers and Presbyterians and conflicting land claims; it wanted proper social discipline and law.
Governor Arthur Dobbs spent his ten years as governor (1754-1764) squabbling with the colonial assembly over who controlled what and Hillsborough may be an example of one of his successes. Francis Corbin (d. 1767), a Granville land agent, and member of the Governor's Council, and a handful business associates loyal to the governor owned the land that became Hillsborough. In its early days the seat of the new county's government briefly bore his name (Corbin Town). The colonial Assembly, though, did not ratify the governor's choice until it chartered Hillsborough late in the 1760s, in the midst of the Regulation.
|Moseley Map, 1733 Showing Acconeechy towns|
The "Court Party", Anglicans and their minions, controlled all important county offices, and reasonable requests and complaints from distressed citizens fell on deaf ears. Eventually, by the 1760s, ten years into the town's life, an insurrection arose, the Regulation. The court and its opportunistic hangers-on were targets of the Regulation. Though Governor Dobbs had passed on, his replacement, cut from the same bolt of cloth, came to town in 1768 to awe the peasants and subdue the unruly. Having "shown the flag" and promised some relief to the farmers, the governor left town but not before his engineering officer, J. Sauthier drew a map. The Sauthier map tells us what the town looked like one generation after its founding. Later, In 1771, Governor Tryon returned to finish daunting Regulators and hung a handful of insurrectionists east of town. Their execution took place within a few paces of the town's new Anglican church seat, between the Trading Path and the Halifax Road, on a knoll conspicuous to all travelers.
|Sauthier Map of Hillsborough, 1768|
The Cameron family of Stagville and Farintosh and Cameron Arena fame bought the knoll south of the Anglican church, made an arboretum around the Regulator hanging site and put an ice house down near the Halifax road. But their estate development hastened the disappearance of humbler structures near by. By the middle of the 20th century there were fewer houses east of town than there were when Sauthier made his map. For example, along the Halifax Road extension that once ran into the Indian Fields, where the villages once stood, there are boxwood pairs marking a couple of dwelling sites.
|A Map of Sunday's Hike|